Monica Miller

Monica Miller spoke on Tuesday.  What did you learn?  How did her talk connect to our discussions of race and popular culture?  What questions and thoughts did her talk provoke from you


8 thoughts on “Monica Miller

  1. Miles Zupan
    Extra credit

    The lecture with Monica Miller was very interesting; she made me look at religion in a way, that I could connect to. One of the main things she stressed on was how modern youth dose not participate in religion. I never really thought about this, however looking at the people that I associate myself with, very few of them including myself are extremely religious. A short clip with 2 Pac Shakur made since of a potential reasons why this is happening, and how people are starting to steer away from what they are grown up on, and beginning to believe in what truly makes since. Another subject that I thought was very interesting was when she discussed “Krumping”. My assumption before this lecture was that this was just a modern dance similar to “twerking” or any of the other modern dances. How ever what Dr. Miller made me realize is that Krumping is more than that. I found that this is a part of culture, and is very similar to spiritual dances that have been around since early days with the native people. The video made me realize how passionate these dances are and how they are more than just a dance. It is part of a spirit that these people believe in. The main thing that this lecture made me realize is that there is all different ways that people express what they believe in, and although things may not be how they used to be when everybody went to church there is still belief, just in other ways.

  2. On the evening of April 16, 2013 I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Monica Miller on the topic of religion and hip-hop. When the presentation started I really did not know what to expect. I was thinking to myself there is no religion in hip-hop, that mindset quickly changed once the presentation started. One of the first things that Dr. Miller talked about was that 1 in 5 Americans claim to follow no religion at all, otherwise known as “NONS”. Dr. Miller also talked about how the dance krumping was giving religious leaders hope that America’s youth had a chance in finding religion. I do not really believe this for the simple fact that if someone is spiritual or does something that brings spirituality out in them does not necessarily make them religious. In one of the clips that she showed the person interviewed spoke on the subject of krumping he said, “this is our belief, not a trend”. I tend to believe this for this particular social group, you need to believe in something in your life if you really want to enjoy life to the fullest. The most interesting fact that Dr. Miller presented was that the Pacific North West is in general the least religious of any region in the country. This kind of statistic had never even crossed my mind before. Overall, I was very intrigued with the presentation and subject matter. Dr. Miller was defiantly well versed in the subject matter and it really showed in her presentation. I enjoyed how when she was explain something that was more abstract she was able to bring it back down to earth with an example that made her point hit home. The Tupac example for me truly made it clear what she was really trying to find in her research, that was why are young people straying from traditional religious institutions and finding their own beliefs on their own and in their own way.

  3. Actually, this lecture was little difficult for me to understand. It is because that in my country, some people believe in religion, but the other do not. But I think that in America, religion is an important thing in their life and they are living based on religion mostly. Dr. Monica Miller said that we are misrecognizing the religious in hip hop culture. At that time I wondered that there is religion in hip hop culture. It is difficult for me to connect religion and hip hop culture. In the video, many young people was dancing passionately. I felt they were trying to tell something. I think that it is important to tell what they are believing by their own way. And then, I felt that they are proud of telling what they are believing through hip hop dance. In this society, there are various ways of telling their thoughts. I think it is great that they express what they want to tell in a way that they can tell it well. Through this lecture, I learn the importance of how we believe own religion.

  4. Before going to Monica Millers’ lecture I did not know that it was going to be so interesting. I learned a lot more about the different way people express themselves and how certain types of dancing are a part of a persons’ culture. Before listening to Millers’ lecture I thought that people danced a certain way just because they enjoyed that type of dance, I did not know that to them those dances are part of their culture and the way they are able to express how they feel. When I thought about cultural and spiritual dances, neither crumping nor hip hop came to mind. After listening to the young man from the documentary “Rize”, I came to understand how crumping in certain people was implanted in them from birth. It was also said by the same young man that there is spirit in the “crump” circle. That same documentary made a very interesting point to me; crumping is a belief, not a trend. After learning so much about their dancing, I started to think of other ways people express themselves. One of the most common ways I came up with is tattoos. Millers’ lecture made a great point about how the body is very important for young people. If young people did not have their body to express themselves then what others ways would they find to do so? Millers’ talk connected to our discussions of race and popular culture because dancing, tattoos, African Americans are all a big part of our discussions.Crumping has become a type of dance that is now being done by many different cultural groups and ethnicities.

  5. Going into Monica Miller’s discussion on Tuesday I was not sure what I should expect. I knew that it was going to be something regarding race and culture but I had no idea that there would be any talk of religion. At first I was very confused on what she was trying to do but then after listening to her talk and reading some of her slides I began to understand. By going to a Catholic school my entire life I have always been around religion and learned about the different aspects of it. I enjoy learning new things and also different individual’s opinions on the matter as well. I really liked how the first points Monica Miller brought up about religion were relating them to hip hop and tattoos. I think that modern view and examples of religion is one that many people our age or the youth do not realize exist. She then went to talk about how little religion is present in our world today especially the youth. I think this is very interesting. Our youth is so involved in different things that incorporate religion. Many people do not realize this because it is not the “traditional” way of depicting religion. I think that religion has been taught to our generation as something that is so frigid and straightforward that many kids do not want any part of it. I believe that Monica Miller has a great cause and is showing the youth how religion can be a positive thing in life instead of a negative controlling part of life. Coming out of this discussion one comment got me really thinking. That was the point if we are born with religion or spirituality or do we chose it. I still have not come to a conclusion to this question. However it does make me ask if religion is a social norm we learn because of a certain way we grew up or is it something we have already learned at birth. Is it nature or is it nurture?

  6. CES 101
    Extra Credit

    Beyond Belief

    On April 16, I listened to the lecture by Monica Miller in the evening. In her lecture, she said that there was a new crisis in American society: it is non religion. In America, I think a lot of people are Christian. I also think Christ plays a significant role in their life for them. However, I am from Japan, and in Japan most people do not care about their religion and believing a religion does not play an important role in daily life. However, they believe Sinto (it is one of Buddhism) but they also celebrate other religious custom, for example, Christmas and Halloween. In Japan, I think most people will say that I do not have religion because they think religion is not a part of daily life. Therefore, non-religion people are not rare in Japan, so I was surprised that American new boom is non religion.
    In the lecture, Dr. Miller insisted that dance that young people did is one of the ways to express their thought and feeling. Dance is important to show the thought and feeling for young people. I belong to the dance club in Japan and a lot of my friends express their emotion through dance. It is a similar way to show the feeling even if they live different area. Crumping is also a part of dance and it is the way to show the belief for young people. When I saw the crumping in the video, I thought I could not understand why they were clapping when they were dancing. However, finally, I could understand the clumping after the lecture. For young people, the way to express their thought and belief differs. We need to understand the difference.

  7. Monica Miller’s discussion on religion was something I did not expect from this class. However, because this is a Comparative Ethics Studies class, I had a hunch that we could be talking about religion and how it affects the different cultures we live in. One of the things that Monica Miller brought up in her lecture was relating religion to hip hop and tattoo. It interesting because there are so many hip hop artists out there that are visually anti christian but they say they are. While some say tattoos are rebellious and frowned upon, there are pastors that love tattoos and say they are ok. Same goes with the genre of music; hip hop. There are many negative things that are shown through this genre of music. The majority of hip hop artist can be seen as too vulgar or frown upon the christian religion. I learned that we can’t look at religion as one picture but we need to look at it as a way people express their faith. It can be done in so many different ways. Another thing she brought up that caught my attention was that religion is a small part of the youth. I disagree with this because there are so many teens and young people that try to make a difference in the world and in their community. The small groups and gatherings the youth have in their own spare time make the big changes we see around our community. These kind of thoughts made me want to question, is religion affecting our society as a whole negatively in terms of different culture or is it providing support for us to become one.

  8. Beyond Belief: The search for more (and less) in Material culture, presented by Dr. Monica R. Miller was extremely inspiring. One in five Americans do not claim religious associations, and when asked what your religious affiliation, upper middle class individuals were considered the “nones”, meaning they chose none of the above.

    Dr. Monica Miller talked about recognizing ‘The Religious’ in Hip Hop Culture and stated:
    1. Black church and spirit of market maintenance
    2. The critical in the lyrical: Rapper as (Christian) prophet
    3. Hip Hop as Quest for meaning
    4. Critical approaches: Postmodern complex subjectivity

    The discussion of hip hop and religion that Dr. Miller presented was different than what I had expected. During the presentation, she showed a video of Tupac Shakur, who many people describe as being the Black Jesus. As Tupac was incarcerated, he said he became knowledgeable of all the Gods. But, Tupac stated that what is heaven and what is hell, because being in prison for him was considered hell and being able to have money and do what he please, he felt like he was in heaven.

    Another discussion about the hip hop movement of “Crump” was also talked about. How these individuals danced to express how they felt, similar to feeling a spirit rise over you. Many people claimed that this dance was from a religious background, because of how people feel the spirit within a church.

    The presentation that Dr. Monica Miller gave, provoked the thoughts about rethinking the inheritance of belief. Do we choose more or less, and the values that come with these decisions. How we measure religion in contemporary culture and youth culture in particular and the meaning of religion came into play throughout her lecture. As individuals, do we tend to read more into the subject matter such as the expressive dance styles of crump and how do we understand religion and spirituality as a growing society.

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